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Thread: U.S. Supreme Court reverses ruling on church restrictions vs public safety

  1. Top | #11
    Elder Contributor
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    Of basic biology and a health emergency. This decision will kill people.

  2. Top | #12
    Veteran Member crazyfingers's Avatar
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    Massachusetts Governor Baker believes that the Massachusetts Covid-19 restrictions satisfy the recent supreme court ruling.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/11/...plicable-mass/

    Governor Charlie Baker’s office says it believes that Massachusetts’ coronavirus pandemic restrictions on churches won’t run afoul of a US Supreme Court ruling this week that barred restrictions on some religious services in New York.

    “The administration believes the Supreme Court decision is consistent with the way Massachusetts is working with our houses of worship during the pandemic,” governor’s spokeswoman Sarah Finlaw said in an e-mailed statement.

    A lawyer suing the state over Baker’s pandemic orders agreed, but said the court’s thinking should give Baker pause.

    Mike DeGrandis of the New Civil Liberties Alliance said he expected that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court would “take note that the United States Supreme Court stated the obvious: ‘Even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten.’” DeGrandis represents plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Baker that argues that the governor overreached this spring when he invoked the state’s Civil Defense Act, and ordered nonessential businesses and houses of worship to close.

    DeGrandis noted that Baker had taken the latter approach. “Gov. Baker has taken a more nuanced approach, limiting occupancy at places of worship to 50% of the building’s maximum permitted occupancy rather than an arbitrary numerical limit. So I don’t expect that the Supreme Court’s decision will change Massachusetts’s church-occupancy restrictions,” he said Thursday in an emailed statement.“The Massachusetts legislature should enact whatever laws it deems necessary to keep the public safe, as long as such laws are consistent with the Massachusetts and United States Constitutions. But executive-made laws like Gov. Baker’s COVID-19 orders are a direct assault on the separation of powers, and they must stop,” DeGrandis said.
    Regarding that last argument, I think that i read that Massachusetts' courts have observed that while Baker is Republican, the state legislature is overwhelmingly democratic. That being the case, the legislature could easily enact, over a Baker veto, any change to the Civil Defense Act. That they have not even suggested so strongly suggests that the MA legislature is satisfied that Baker is acting within his authority.

  3. Top | #13
    Veteran Member Brian63's Avatar
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    Bomb#20,

    I am going to take a different turn and thank you for your contribution to this discussion. Per the usual qualifier, I am not a lawyer. My response to hearing about the ruling was based in large part by hearing the reactions of other people who are professional lawyers I trust and who had that type of reaction. I do not know if they had read the concurring or dissenting rulings themselves in part or total, but I do respect their judgments greatly based on past experience. They seemed unanimous in agreement that it was a bad ruling. In my OP I do believe I may have gone too far, in chalking up the ruling up to mere religious prejudice and scientific illiteracy of the conservative justices. I have since read some brief comments arguing varying different ways on the matter, and it goes over my head and I do not have the time/interest right now to dig deeper. I do recall during the ACB confirmation hearings that her religious beliefs were being theatrically defended by GOP senators, and it does not take an expert lawyer to see through that shit. On this specific case though, I goofed in the OP and I want to thank you for being willing to disagree with the majority view here. We should not simply become an echo chamber. I do not know if the ruling was the best, and how right or wrong your opinions are, but at least my contribution to the discussion should have been better.

  4. Top | #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian63 View Post
    I am going to take a different turn and thank you for your contribution to this discussion. ...
    Are you sure you're in the right forum? I think that's the most gentlemanly post I've ever seen on TFT. Kudos to you, sir; and I apologize for the harsh tone of my, er, contribution.

    As to the legal merits of the decision, in Roberts' dissent he of course made the excellent point that the injunction was simply unnecessary -- Cuomo had already redrawn the region boundaries and the litigants were no longer covered, rendering the question before the Court moot. The lawyers you refer to might judge it a poor ruling because of this; I certainly haven't the expertise to debate that technicality. There's some useful background on mootness here. It would have been curious to see the conservative majority point to Roe v Wade as a precedent.

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